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39 • • • 37 --- ULTRAMAFIC CUMULATES AVERAGE METAMORPHIC DUNITE 10 20 30 40 50 60 Weighl Percen' FeO / FoO + M9 70 80 Fig. 13. Plot of Si0 2 versus FeO* jFeO* + MgO (FeO* total iron recalculated to FeO) in ophiolite cumulate rocks. 2 and represent the middle and upper portions of the cumulate sections. If all available analyses of the ophiolite cumulates are plotted on a diagram (Fig. 13) with Si0 2 on the ordinate and FeO/ FeO + MgO (wt %) on the abscissa, it shows that the ultramafic cumulates are very similar to the dunites from the metamorphic peridotites, but that the metamorphic harzburgites appear to be different in their chemistry from nearly all of the cumulates.
And as noted before, the podiform concentrations of chromitite favor the dunite as a host rock. Orthopyroxenite dikes and veins cutting the harzburgite and dunites consist primarily of orthopyroxene whose composition is similar to that in the host rocks. Occasional irregular blebs of websterite are found in the harzburgite and its minerals and textures are similar to the dunites and harzburgites. It is worth repeating at this stage that all these rock types exhibit tectonic fabrics either in the hand specimen or microscopically.
These alternating dark and light layers are easily recognized in the field and have often been referred to as the transition or critical zone (Smith, 1958; Wilson, 1959; Moores, 1969). These transition zones mark the gradual change from cumulate peridotite to cumulate gabbros and usually mark the end of bimineralic olivine and pyroxene crystallization. Various estimates of the transition zone thickness show a range from 150-750 m and must reflect the size and duration of crystal fractionation in the magma chamber.